By Anocha Suwichakornpong
The starting point for “Come Here” was that I wanted to make a film about young people. This inevitably led me to questions about love. In contemporary Thailand, the notion of love is a complicated one. Love, as an ideology, is inextricably linked to the nation. Societal pressure is such that it is no longer sufficient to have love for yourself, your family and friends, it is the concept of ‘love’ that is used to describe ones dutiful relationship to the nation, religion, and king.
I handpicked a group of young actors with a wide range of acting experience. Some had won major awards, while others had never acted before. Working without a formal script, our process began as a series of workshops in which the actors were not assigned to specific roles but rather intermittently changed characters, with each actor taking turns playing each role. It was only during the week before shooting began that I assigned the roles to the actors. By this time, I felt it was very obvious which actor should play which role.
The film is in black & white, with the aspect ratio 4:3. I chose to shoot in this aspect ratio, and in black and white, because I wanted the film to explore an anachronistic sense of time, one that is caught between the modern representation of the young protagonists in juxtaposition to the historical underpinnings of their surrounding landscape. In order to draw attention to the the history of these locations in relation to the somewhat naivety of the characters words and actions, I felt that this approach to creating the visual universe of the film was necessary.
About the Filmmaker:
Anocha Suwichakornpong was the 2018-19 Gardner-FSC Fellow and is currently a FSC-Harvard Fellow. She is a visiting lecturer at the Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies, Harvard University.
Suwichakornpong’s work is informed by the socio-political history of Thailand. “By the Time It Gets Dark,” Anocha’s second feature, centers around a student massacre that took place in 1976 by Thai state forces and far-right paramilitaries at Thammasat University in Bangkok. She graduated from an MFA film program at Columbia University. Her thesis film, “Graceland,” became the first Thai short film to be officially selected by Cannes Film Festival. Mundane History, her first feature, won numerous awards including the Tiger Award at Rotterdam. “By the Time It Gets Dark” premiered in Locarno and has screened in festivals such as Toronto, BFI London, Viennale, and Rotterdam. The film won three Thailand National Film Awards including Best Picture and Best Director. “By the Time It Gets Dark” was chosen as Thailand’s Oscar entry for Best Foreign Language Film. Her most recent film “Krabi, 2562” co-directed with Ben Rivers premiered at the Locarno Film Festival in August 2019.